Peter LaBerge is an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania.
His recent poetry is featured or forthcoming in PANK, A-Minor Magazine,
DIAGRAM, Word Riot, Weave Magazine, and Hanging Loose, among others. He
grew up in Connecticut (U.S.A.), and currently serves as the Founder and
Editor-in-Chief of The Adroit Journal.
Desert and Accident
Through the smoke of quiet glass, men
on her doorstep from the sea. She can almost
remember the cool flare of her youth.
This brisk morning, she finds herself
free of flowers, tumbleweed limbs, prayers
from fools. The simple smoke of beauty.
A car speaking in quiet smolders, her knee
learning a bruise, the skirt she wears
of dust and sea salt. The quiet leave of men, she
left only with a smoked car, miles of tweed
yearning to burn. Flame like the only swear
a man with smoke-chewed glass can guarantee.
Men desperate and locked within a sea
of smoke, waiting for her, the flower in her hair
learning wilted, learning the key
to living without water. The key
that opens nothing now, only bears
the dust-soft remembrance of the sea,
bone reduced to glass, smoke, plea.
After Phillip B. Williams
This is the breaking: where God
is little help, where ancestors stay
isolated and deprived in tulip bulbs
beneath white shoots of winter garden.
Please stay inside me, says the tremor
of my lip. Stay inside me and, together,
we will make lightning. Just a few more
months; I will know when it is spring.
The chorus of my body: I said don't
three times last night to the ambivalence
of my pillow, listened to all the cicadas had
to say. I was naked and they were naked, but we
did not touch. Instead, I said commit. Real gusts
are felt and not spoken. Adoring meaning bitten
meaning crushing meaning dust under dirt.
Meaning with family now, trailing the deity
of a secret, a light reddening as we break
surface together and climb through the weeks.
Peace-making meaning teeth disintegrating
meaning the loss, the loss meaning commitment:
not molting, not molting.
It wasn't supposed to happen like this.
Cigarette talking in quiet ringlets, hands
through empty hair, smile like studying
something rising that wants to fall.
Face like early dewgrass. Happy
like a melon choir, can't remember
another rind. Inside him, the last day
of July, screened-in patio. Him inside
my mind and me inside humid him
and the trust nothing of a humid thrust,
quiet rind and rind, cigarettes for ringlets.
Emptied melon orchard, the study
of something rising that has
already fallen, the morning yolk
sun a lover inviting himself to bed.
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